Avon is a town of about 7,500 residents that’s located along Interstate 70 a few hours west of downtown Denver.
Due to its proximity to both Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts, Avon experiences large surges of visitors annually, especially during the winter ski season.
For all-around outdoor lovers visiting the area, it offers an abundance of year-round recreation options, and easy access to some of the state’s most majestic landscapes, national parks, and undisturbed wilderness areas.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Avon, Colorado, that are worth checking out for first-time visitors.
1. Benchmark Lake Reservoir
Benchmark Lake Reservoir and dam are just a few minutes from downtown Avon and are big draws for swimmers, kayakers, and sunbathers during the summer months.
The reservoir is also home to a variety of gamefish like bass, trout, and perch that make it a big attraction for regional anglers. Though the lake is often most crowded when it’s sunny and warm, fishing can be best when wind, clouds, and falling temperatures are present.
Check online for current weather conditions and fishing reports before making a special trip.
Both in-state residents and out of state visitors will need Colorado fishing licenses to be in compliance.
2. Walking Mountains Science Center
Previous visitors to Walking Mountains Science Center have described it as a true gem and a world-class experience, especially for such a small town.
The science center’s exhibits and programs are appropriate for toddlers and senior citizens; in addition to being entertaining and engaging, they’re also educational.
The facility’s interactive activities touch on science, technology, the environment, and plants and animals. One-hour staff-led walking tours are offered on a regular basis as well.
Admission is reasonable, and the indoor portion of the center is a great place to visit when the weather isn’t particularly conducive to outdoor activities.
3. EagleVail Golf Course
Colorado boasts some of the most amazing scenery in the American west, and for golfers visiting the Rocky Mountain State for the first time, hitting the links is a great way to experience it.
EagleVail Golf Course was established in the ’70s and now features both a traditional 18-hole course as well as a 9-hole par three one.
The 9-hole course is perfect for those with limited time, because it’s common to finish a round in just a few hours, whereas the full-length course often takes more than four.
The courses feature dramatic vistas and changes in elevation, and there’s a popular bar and grill that’s a favorite post-round gathering place.
4. Northside Kitchen
Avon’s Northside Kitchen is a noticeable step up from many of the area’s more casual eateries, and it’s open daily from 6 AM until 9 PM.
They do big business with the early riser crowd looking to fill their tanks before a long day spent in nature, and they’re particularly well-known for their fresh baked goods, hefty breakfast burritos, and piping hot coffee.
For lunch and dinner, their menu includes traditional favorites like prime rib, steaks, sandwiches, soups, and appetizers. They’ve also got an impressive wine selection that totals more than 200 individual bottles from all over the world.
5. The Christie Lodge
The Christie Lodge is located in downtown Avon and is the perfect alternative for those who’d prefer not to stay in a characterless motel that’s part of a national chain.
The lodge’s amenities include heated swimming pools, comfortable lounge chairs, and several outdoor seating area with gas grills.
There’s an on-site fitness area as well that includes both aerobic workout machines and free weights. Ping-pong tables, game consoles, and televisions are available in the children’s activity center.
For those unsure of how to spend their vacation time, check with the concierge desk for an insider’s list of popular things to see and do.
6. Vail Valley Brew Fest at Avon
Beer is big business in Colorado, and there are a number of annual beer festivals held in both urban and rural areas all over the state.
The Valley Brew Fest at Avon is a much-anticipated event that includes not only a huge selection of locally and regionally brewed beers, but great food, live entertainment, and lots of family-friendly activities for those traveling with little ones.
Tickets are cheaper if you purchase them beforehand, but they’re available the day of the event as well.
The cost of admission includes endless samples of beer from dozens of high-country brewers, and there’s a pre-event 5K run as well.
7. Kiwi International Delights and Coffee Co.
Located on East Beaver Creek Place in Avon, Kiwi International Delights and Coffee Co. is open daily from 7 AM to 10 PM.
It’s the perfect first stop of the day for those in need of caffeinated refreshments, and they’re known for their tasty baked goods, crepes, and ice cream as well.
Their coffee menu includes everything from latte and cappuccino to frap and espresso. Their ice cream comes in traditional flavors as well as more contemporary ones that include ingredients like coconut and candied fruit.
Kiwi’s prices are reasonable, and they offer dairy-free ice cream and gelato as well.
8. Nottingham Lake & Beach
For its convenience and plentiful activity options, Nottingham Lake & Beach are in a league of their own for outdoorsy types with limited time and modest vacation budgets.
The facility’s premier activities are swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and picnicking, but for those interested in getting more active and burning a few extra calories, there are pedal boats, kayaks, and paddleboards available to rent on-site.
The season generally lasts from Memorial Day until Labor Day. If you’re interested in renting equipment, you’ll need to bring a valid driver’s license or credit card to leave as a deposit until the items are returned.
9. The Children’s Museum at Beaver Creek Resort
Though they were once few and far between, children’s museums are becoming more common across the country.
The Children’s Museum at Beaver Creek is a free attraction that’s chock-full of engaging, interactive exhibits designed for inquisitive young minds.
The museum’s attractions include a theater, aquariums, science-related exhibits, and an area where kids can actually dig for fossils.
The staff regularly offer special programs as well, including storytime and presentations on a variety of fun and educational topics.
The Children’s Museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday seasonally, so check their hours of operation online before heading out.
10. Vail Ski Resort
Vail Ski Resort is one of North America’s premier alpine recreation destinations. Though it’s more pricy and exclusive than some of the state’s other resorts, most visitors consider it a world-class value considering all there is to see and do.
The resort is comprised of more than 5,000 acres and generally has a snowpack of around 400 inches during the season.
In addition to its trails that range from expert-only to beginner, there are tons of other activity options; many of them – like zip-lining, rafting, and mountain biking – are best enjoyed during the warm spring and summer months.
11. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Though Colorado doesn’t have the world’s most fertile soil or longest growing season, it’s home to a number of botanical gardens; the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail is one of the area’s most visited.
The gardens are comprised of several distinct cultivated areas with their own themes. Though many guests choose to show themselves around, others join a regularly scheduled tour to get the most out of their experience.
Many visitors choose to visit during the spring when most of the garden’s residents are in bloom, but during the winter, there are popular staff-led snowshoe tours too.
12. Vail Brewing Company
Vail Brewing Company is located on East Meadow Drive and are known for their extensive beer selection, chill mountain resort vibe, and inviting indoor and outdoor seating areas.
Their tasty brewed-on-site beers range from hoppy IPAs and refreshing blonds to crisp ambers and porters aged in barrels that once held rum.
Vail Brewing has locations in Eagle and Vail Village. For those traveling with dogs, it’s okay to bring your four-legged friends to relax on the patio, as long as they’re leashed and cleaned up after.
Things can get busy during spring and summer afternoons, and during the winter when weary skiers are in need of liquid refreshment.
13. Colorado Snowsports Museum
Colorado boasts some of the most famous ski resorts on the continent. Though many skiers think that the state’s alpine sports history is relatively young, it actually stretches back more than a century.
The Colorado Snowsports Museum located in Vail is hands-down the best place to learn about the state’s winter recreation history.
The museum includes exhibits that touch on both recreational skiing and that done out of necessity, including the region’s prominence as a training location for alpine troops bound for the European Theater during the World War II years.
14. Vail Valley Food Tours
With such an international clientele, Vail has an abundance of restaurants, ranging from comfy and reasonably priced to swank and high-dollar.
The options can be downright overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors, and many foodies choose to join a guided tour offered by Vail Valley Food Tours.
Vail Valley offers several options to suit most schedules and budgets. In addition to great food at some renowned restaurants, tours may also include microbreweries and craft distilleries.
Tours may be done on foot, by bike, or by car. They’re surprisingly inexpensive and often rank as one of the most memorable experiences of visitor’s trips.
15. Timberline Tours
For fit and fearless adventurers and hopeless adrenaline junkies, Colorado offers an abundance of activity options.
Timberline Tours is dedicated to providing guests memorable, world-class experiences that are centered on whitewater rafting and off-road, backcountry Jeep tours.
Timberline’s tours explore a variety of unique environments, including remote rivers, majestic mountains, and old-growth forests.
Some tours combine outdoor excursions with visits to local wineries, and others focus on local flora and fauna, incredible vistas, and unforgettable sunsets. Check out their website or give them a call to see which tour option is best for you before making a special trip.